Most Steelers fans can tell you where they were on the morning on Feb. 11, 2001, when Three Rivers Stadium, the home of the black and gold for 30 largely glorious years, was blown to smithereens. That fall, the Steelers began a new era at Heinz Field, which would usher in a new wave of championship teams, players and coaches.
This week, Steelers fans were told of another change regarding their team’s home stadium. Steelers president Art Rooney II announced that Heinz Fieldto Acrisure Staidum as part of a new, longterm naming rights agreement. The name change has been for Steelers fans, who are among the most passionate fan bases in all of professional sports.
With Heinz Field now a thing of the past, we’ve decided to rank the Steelers’ top 10 moments at “The Big Ketchup Bottle.” The list surely includes moments Steelers fans haven’t and won’t forget anytime soon.
1. Polamalu’s pick-six clinches AFC title
The Steelers-Ravens rivalry reached a frenzied pitch in 2008, when the division foes boasted the NFL‘s top-two defenses. Pittsburgh won both regular season meetings in dramatic fashion and was protecting a two-point lead late in the AFC Championship Game. The Steelers sealed the game with Troy Polamalu picked off Joe Flacco’s pass, then scampered 40 yards for the clinching score. Pittsburgh would then defeat Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII to capture the franchise’s sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.
2. Steelers sack Jets, advance to eighth Super Bowl
The Steelers’ 24-19 win over the Jets in the 2010 AFC title game is largely forgotten, which is a shame given that it was a pretty crazy 60 minutes of football. The Steeles stormed out to a 24-0 halftime lead on the strength of a dominant defensive performance. But the Jets, led by former Steelers wideout Santonio Holmes, would rally to make it a one-score game late in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger wouldn’t allow the Jets to get any closer, however, after he converted a critical third-and-six play that sewed up the game.
3. The Bus plows over Urlacher, paves way for Super Bowl run
At 7-5, the 2005 Steelers needed to win out in order to have any chance at securing a spot in the playoffs. Up first was a home game against the Bears, who entered the game with a 9-2 record. With heavy snowfall creating muddy playing conditions, the Steelers leaned on 13-year veteran Jerome Bettis, who responded with the final 100-yard game of his Hall of Fame career. Bettis’ second touchdown included his famous knockdown of then-Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. The win was the first of eight straight for Pittsburgh, which ended the season by sending Bettis off as a champion in his hometown of Detroit.
4. Immaculate Extension
The Steelers’ first Christmas Day game was a memorable one. The game was a Week 16 matchup against the rival Ravens on Dec. 25, 2016. The winner of the game would win the division while clinching a playoff berth, while a loss would eliminate the Ravens from playoff contention.
Down 20-10, a pair of touchdowns by Le’Veon Bell gave the Steelers the lead with seven minutes left. The Ravens, however, responded with a scoring drive of their own while taking the lead with 1:18 left. Roethlisberger countered with a last-minute drive that featured completions to five different teammates. The final throw, a completion to All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, gave the Steelers the lead with nine seconds left. Brown’s score, which gave the Steelers the AFC North division crown, was given the nickname “Immaculate Extension” as an ode to Brown’s second effort against several Ravens defenders.
5. Big Ben’s final home game
Though he had yet to make it official, seemingly everyone — Roethlisberger included — figured the Steelers’ Week 17 game against the Browns this past season would be Big Ben’s final game at Heinz Field. With the home crown showering him with love every chance they could, Roethlisberger got things going with a touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson. The Steelers, who were aided that night by Chris Boswell’s four field goals and T.J. Watt’s four sacks, iced the game on a 37-yard touchdown run by Najee Harris, who rushed for a season-high 188 yards.
6. Steelers snap Patriots’ 21-game winning streak
In just his fifth start, Roethlisberger squared off against Tom Brady and a Patriots team that entered Pittsburgh with an NFL record 21-game winning streak. On Halloween, the Steelers’ pass rush wreaked havoc on Brady, whose pick-six to Deshea Townsend helped Pittsburgh jump out to a 21-3 lead. The Steelers also received two big early touchdown passes from Big Ben to Plaxico Burress.
Protecting a big lead, the Steelers turned to running backs Jerome Bettis and Duce Staley, who combined to run for 190 yards and a score on 40 carries. The 34-20 win was one of 15 during the Steelers’ 2004 season, with Roethlisberger winning Offensive Rookie of the Year after winning each of his 13 regular season starts.
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7. Big Ben rallies Steelers past Ravens in 2010 playoffs
The 2010 playoffs had two games that cracked the list. Down 21-7 to the Ravens in the divisional round, the Steelers tied the score after Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to Heath Miller and Hines Ward. With the score tied late in the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger’s 58-yard completion to Antonio Brown — who caught the ball using the side of his helmet — set up Rashard Mendenhall’s game-winning score.
8. Maddox leads playoff comeback win over Browns
Hope appeared lost in Pittsburgh after Cleveland raced out to a 24-7 lead in the playoff wild card matchup on Jan. 5, 2003. But led by Tommy Maddox, the former XFL MVP who started the 2002 season as a backup, the Steelers scored four touchdowns during the game’s final 19 minutes to pull out a 36-33 win. Maddox, who threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns, had success getting the ball to Burros and Hines Ward, who both went over 100 yards receiving. The Steelers also received a big effort from rookie Antwaan Randle El, who scored Pittsburgh’s first touchdown on a 66-yard punt return.
9. Steelers stun Cowboys in 2008 classic
After losing two previous home games to Manning-led teams, the Steelers were looking to defeat a top-tier QB at home late in the 2008 regular season. Pittsburgh got its wish against Tony Romo and the Cowboys, who came to Heinz Field with an 8-4 record.
Down 13-3, the Steelers kicked a field goal, then tied the score when Roethlisberger found Heath Miller in the end zone. With the home crowed at a frenzied pitch, Romo fluttered a pass that was picked off by Deshea Townsend, who raced 25 yards to the end zone with 1:40 left. The win, while contributing the the Cowboys’ late-season collapse, would help the Steelers sew up the AFC North as well as the conference’s second playoff bye.
10. Steelers dethrone Ravens in first playoff matchup
The first playoff game at Heinz Field took place between the Steelers and the defending champion Ravens on Jan. 20, 2002. As if they were fired out of a cannon, the Steelers roared out to a big lead before coasting to a 27-10 win. Pittsburgh’s defense, led by pass-rushing menace Joey Porter, forced four turnovers while holding the Ravens’ offense to just seven first downs and 150 total yards.